Can A Non-Believer Date A Practicing Christian?

By

cross blue sky sun behind
What happens when an agnostic falls in love with a Christian?

We sat outside on a concrete partition, sharing a club soda and looking at the big brick church across the street from us.

"How long has it been since you've been inside one of those?" TD asked me. I had to pause for a moment.

"More than a decade," I finally answered. "Probably more like a decade and a half."

We were quiet for a long time, listening to the kids in the park behind us. As the sun started to set, he nudged me with his elbow. "The service has already started. We should go in if you want to catch the sermon."

I let out a big sigh. "I'm nervous," I finally admitted. "It's worse than meeting your parents. It's meeting your God."

He laughed a little and took my hand. "Don't worry. I'm sure 'my God' will like you just fine."

*****

When we first met I wanted not to like him.

I had recently entered the New York dating scene for the first time after the failure of a five-year relationship. Romance in New York seemed frightening and exhausting, and I wanted nothing to do with it. I secretly hoped he would do something—anything—to justify my fear of dating and let me get back to my quiet life. So, for the first hour of our first date, I sat reed-like on the comfy couch, using only the six inches at its end to support my weight, while he lounged next to me chatting easily.

Over wine and Chimays, we talked about our undergraduate degrees, learning that we both majored in anthropology after dropping out of pre-med programs. We discovered that each of us had entertained vocational flirtations with both ethnomusicology and horse dentistry (he was—and still remains—the only other person I've met outside a barn who knows that horses even have dentists). As the night wore on, my up-rightness began to wilt, my spine beginning to curve into the cushions behind me. My smile became something unforced. I was having fun. On my way to the subway after the date, I sent an excited text to my friend. "If I were tall, male and half-Korean, I would be TD!"

Never, in the history of all the men I have ever dated, had I ever walked away from a date feeling so hopeful.